Feathers Flights // Sewing Blog: Beauty



I have a different kind of post today. I work with the teenage girls in my congregation, and this past Sunday I taught a lesson about beauty. I'm going to share some of my notes from the lesson. I will tell you up front that it is religious, and it is very close to my heart so be nice if you have a comment. I would love to answer any questions you have.

"If you've glanced at a magazine or turned on the TV in the last decade, you've got a good idea of what media's definition of an attractive woman looks like: she's tall, young, usually white, has long, flowing hair, is surgically enhanced, blemish-free and very thin. In face, academic research tells it like we see it: studies show the women we see in media these days are thinner than ever and very often severely underweight. On top of that, surgical and difital enhancement has become an unquestioned standard. And in a world where a constant flow of media images far outnumbers women we could ever see face to face, this unrealistic ideal has become the norm in our minds. A counterfeit, dangerous, unattainable norm. When we only see a certain type of woman presented positively in media, it's no wonder media is consistently linked to body hatred, disordered eating and an unhealthy focus on appearance. Profit-driven media, hand in hand with the multi-billion-dollar beauty and weight loss industries, rely on us believing a lie. The lie tells us beauty comes in one form that anyone can attain with enough money, time and effort. It tells us that women who don't fit the ideal are doomed to be undesirable and unhappy." Beauty Redefined

This is a lie created by Satan.

I asked the girls a question, and we wrote the answers on the board. What character traits, actions, or talents make a woman beautiful? (They had many more than this, these are just a couple of the answers I remembered.)
  • Treating your body with respect
  • Respecting others
  • Loving
  • Kind 
  • Intelligent
  • Moral
  • Forgiving yourself and others
  • Honest
  • Compassionate
  • Accept yourself as a unique person (weaknesses and all)
We then broke up into groups to read these quotes and talk about them.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland: "Frankly, the world has been brutal with you in this regard. You are bombarded in movies, television, fashion magazines, and advertisements with the message that looks are everything! The pitch is, “If your looks are good enough, your life will be glamorous and you will be happy and popular.” That kind of pressure is immense in the teenage years, to say nothing of later womanhood. In too many cases too much is being done to the human body to meet just such a fictional (to say nothing of superficial) standard. . . . . In terms of preoccupation with self and a fixation on the physical, this is more than social insanity; it is spiritually destructive, and it accounts for much of the unhappiness women, including young women, face in the modern world. And if adults are preoccupied with appearance—tucking and nipping and implanting and remodeling everything that can be remodeled—those pressures and anxieties will certainly seep through to children. At some point the problem becomes what the Book of Mormon called 'vain imaginations'."

Sister Susan W. Tanner: “Happiness comes from accepting the bodies we have been given as divine gifts and enhancing our natural attributes, not from remaking our bodies after the image of the world. The Lord wants us to be made over—but in His image, not in the image of the world, by receiving His image in our countenances.  . . .
Our bodies are our temples. We are not less but more like Heavenly Father because we have bodies. I testify that we are His children, made in His image, with the potential to become like Him. Let us treat this divine gift of the body with great care.”

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland: “The world’s (and Satan’s) definition of beauty tries to convince us that only by using clothing, our bodies, and our looks can we have power and gain approval.”

Elder Holland: “In this same vein may I address an even more sensitive subject. I plead with you young women to please be more accepting of yourselves, including your body shape and style, with a little less longing to look like someone else. We are all different. Some are tall, and some are short. Some are round, and some are thin. And almost everyone at some time or another wants to be something they are not! But as one adviser to teenage girls said: “You can’t live your life worrying that the world is staring at you. When you let people’s opinions make you self-conscious you give away your power. … The key to feeling [confident] is to always listen to your inner self—[the real you.]”And in the kingdom of God, the real you is “more precious than rubies.”Every young woman is a child of destiny and every adult woman a powerful force for good.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland: “One would truly need a great and spacious makeup kit to compete with beauty as portrayed in media all around us.”

Sister Susan W. Tanner: “Satan learned these same eternal truths about the body, and yet his punishment is that he does not have one. Therefore he tries to do everything he can to get us to abuse or misuse this precious gift. He has filled the world with lies and deceptions about the body. He tempts many to defile this great gift of the body through unchastity, immodesty, self-indulgence, and addictions. He seduces some to despise their bodies; others he tempts to worship their bodies. In either case, he entices the world to regard the body merely as an object.“

Elder Richard G. Scott: “Satan has unleashed a seductive campaign to undermine the sanctity of womanhood, to deceive the daughters of God and divert them from their divine destiny. He well knows women are the compassionate, self-sacrificing, loving power that binds together the human family. He would focus their interests solely on their physical attributes and rob them of their exalting roles.”

We opened up to Doctrine and Covenants 18:10 and read it. "Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God." It doesn't say, "Remember the worth of Souls is great in the sight of God" except for my hair color, my skin, my arms, my legs, etc. He created us, every part of us and God does not make mistakes. He made each of us beautiful and each of us unique. Each one of us is different and we have different talents.
The first thing we can do to acknowledge this great gift of love and individuality is that we can begin by believing that we can succeed. Maybe you need to pray to find your purpose or pray to learn to be happy with your purpose. Don’t compare your purpose with somebody else’s.
Then I showed them a $10 bill. I asked who wanted it. Then I asked, "if I spit on it, do you still want it? If I put it on the ground, and stomp on it, do you still want it? If I spill water on it, do you still want it?" No matter what I do to this $10 bill, it's worth the same amount. We are worth an indescribable amount to God. (This story is derived from Elder Uchtdorf's talk "You Are My Hands.")
The worth of our lives comes not in who we are but by WHOSE we are. We never lose our worth. Your reflection does not define your worth.
Challenge for the week:
  • Give non-appearance compliments: Notice others character traits, actions or talents and compliment them on it.
  • Stop the negative self talk: Every time you think of something negative about yourself, stop and think about something kind. Remember that what we THINK about our bodies has a strong connection to how we TREAT our bodies.
  • Go on a Media Fast: Choose a day, days, or a week to steer clear of as much media as you can. That way, you can see how your life is different without all those messages and images, and when you return to viewing and reading popular media, you will be more sensitive to the messages that hurt you and those that are unrealistic.
  • Forget Yourself: Sometimes the best way to improve our self-esteem is to forget about ourselves for a while. Service fills us with love and light that radiate from within.


  1. This is so great, Heather! I especially love your challenges for the week. I am sure you are a fabulous leader for the young women you work with!!

  2. Brilliant this could have just been aimed at my granddaughter who is so perfect and truly loved by her family, her mum has found her crying alone in her room and when questioned her as to what was wrong she said "I am fat and ugly, no-one likes me" her age? just 11 it breaks our hearts and we are working hard on this as a loving supportive family. I am going to show her this article and hope that it will enhance all that we are saying to her. Love the part of the $10 bill I am definitely going to do this with her. Thank You and God Bless the children with whom you are working with are blessed to have such a positive caring group leader.

  3. Love this. I taught Beehives for a year and it is crazy how critical they are of themselves.
    On Saturday I gave a 12 year old in my ward a haircut. She said the last time her hair was cut this short (an aline stack just longer than chin length) her sisters told her it was ugly and to not cut her hair like that again. It makes me sad. This cute girl looked so amazing with a haircut that flatters her. Her older sister has naturally curly hair and hates it. This hatred makes me think that she hates her father in heaven who gave her the amazing curly hair.
    Anyway. I could go on and on about this. It is amazing what perspective and "old" age gives you about your teenage years. Thanks for posting this. I am going to write down some of these quotes and put them up for me to read.

  4. I'm an Agnostic and I approve this message. I approve of any teachings of love, kindness and selfworth. I would think very lowly of a person that would make a negative comment on this.

  5. I'm an Agnostic and I approve this message. I approve of any teachings of love, kindness and selfworth. I would think very lowly of a person that would make a negative comment on this.


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